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I'm trying to set up a sort of community service project.

I want to teach coding to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to learn to code because of financial constraints. I'm hoping to be able to supply computers so that I can teach people who don't have access to a computer. In order to do that, I would need to have computers that are cheap enough to get a few, but capable enough to run code.

Right now, I'm thinking of teaching in Processing, so basically the only thing I need to be able to do is install Windows, OS X, or Linux, and then Java, and then Processing. I am open to suggestions for other teaching strategies, but this isn't really the place for that.

I'm open to just having computer parts in a box along with a display and keyboard, but I don't have any experience finding cheap hardware that will be compatible and do what I want. Mainly, I want the computers to be as cheap as possible while still being able to run windows, mac, or linux. The cheaper I can get them, the more people I can help.

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Consider to make a post to your local forum covering toss-away items of value. Yahoo once had Freecycle, which has morphed to TrashNothing. One is permitted to post requests. Because you don't object to using Linux (free), you can note to prospective contributors that you would be erasing the computer, removing concerns of personal information being released or accessed.

I suggest this because you can accomplish your goal with lower performance computers running a light version of Linux (or older, still supported version) and prevent electronic waste simultaneously.

I have collected a number of machines from clients, erased them, installed Linux and have given them to homeless people, people of low income, etc. You could consider to poll the local mom-and-pop computer stores for similar circumstances.

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Raspberry pi is cheap and can run linux... You can even program the gpio pins to turn on leds :)

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